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Average cereal harvest expected to maintain Minimal acute food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Lesotho
  • May 2014
Average cereal harvest expected to maintain Minimal acute food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Harvesting of cereals has started, increasing household access of food to own production resulting in Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) throughout the country.
    • The cropping season has generally been favorable throughout the country, with localized constraints associated with late state of season in central, southern parts of the country and early frosting the Mountains and Northern lowlands livelihood zones. The outlook is for above-average production. The Lesotho Bureau of Statistics will release the crop assessment report in coming June.
    • Following the stable prices experienced in the 2013/14 consumption year due to better production compared to the previous year and the influence of duty free regime on imports as well as subsidies on milling costs, food prices are expected to remain stable resulting in low erosion on purchasing power of poor households particularly between August and September when they begin to supplement production with purchases.





    Early frost which is affecting late planted crops during maturity stage.

    The yield for late planted crops will be reduced slightly reducing production of maize and vegetables


    Projected outlook through September 2014

    The 2013/14 cropping season has been characterized by near normal rainfall quantity and distribution. The October to March seasonal performance has generally been favorable for most parts of the country and prospects are for above-average harvests for the ongoing April to June harvest period. However, due to the negative effect of delayed planting following a 10-30 day late start-of-seasonal rains in the central and south-east parts of the country and the impact of frost damage on maturing crops in localized areas in the highlands, production levels will be slightly below last year’s production.

    The expected near-average production will likely result in import levels that are close to, but slightly above those recorded last year, when the country required to import 54 percent of their cereal needs down from an average of 70 percent in previous years.

    Most poor rural households are currently meeting their food needs from their own production with harvesting still ongoing and expected to complete in June with most threshing completed in July. The World Food Programme, is reaching 234,708 people through school feeding, nutrition and HIV, Food for work and Cash for assets programs under the safety net and country development programs running until 2017. The increased access to food through own production, seasonal reduction of food prices and safety nets will maintain Minimal food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) through to September.  

    In the past two seasons since 2012, food prices have generally been stable with marginal month–to-month fluctuations and a slow increasing trend (Figure 1). The key factors slowing more substantial increases  are (1) Government subsidization of production costs and milling costs for retail maize, and (2) the impact of improved domestic production in 2013. Most households will begin to rely more on markets as own stocks dwindle from September onwards. Lesotho is a structurally deficit country, importing its maize meal mainly from South Africa, and the recent drop in maize prices in South Africa is likely to further support maize meal price stability.

    The FAO’s Food Price Data and Analysis Tool shows that imported maize meal remains more expensive than locally processed brands, although prices have dropped to below the previous two years’ levels (Figure 1).  Based on good harvest prospects this season, most households are expected to produce enough food to last beyond the normal start of the lean season in October. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes are expected through at least September, as households will continue to access food from own production, supplemented by purchases, and household purchasing power is expected to be favorable due to stable prices.

    Figures Figure 1. Prices for local and imported maize meal, Lesotho national and South Africa import prices, 2013/2014 and 2012/2013

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Prices for local and imported maize meal, Lesotho national and South Africa import prices, 2013/2014 and 2012/2013

    Source: FAO/GIEWS

    Figure 2


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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